17 February 2015

How To Be Happy When Things Are Not Great

How To Be Happy When Things Are Not Great

Now here's a great question that we're going to talk about today. "How can I be happy when my current life situation isn't what I want it to be?"

There is an answer to the question, and it deals with your perspective and transition.

You’ll have to agree with me that some people’s lives are worse than others right? Like right now, someone is being murdered, or raped, beaten, perhaps homeless and sick ...  and would gladly choose your life over theirs. 

Right now, someone is stepping into a jail cell to serve a life sentence and would kill or die for the freedom to work a minimum wage job and live in his parents’ basement. Sure beats what he's currently facing. 

And right now, someone has lost their job and will soon be getting ready to lose their home in the process, and will have to prepare themselves for those new challenges. This person would more than likely, happily trade places with you.

But it’s about perspective. If you think your life sucks, it means you’ve identified something better for yourself and you simply don’t have it yet. And that’s fine. We don’t have to accept our current circumstances if we don’t like them. It’s normal to want to improve your life situation. No one wants to be "stuck" in something that isn't enjoyable or meaningful. 

However, while you are IN your current circumstances, you can still be happy. And the way to be happy is to be in transition. Here's an example of what I'm talking about.

Let’s say I put you in prison, and I tell you that you’re going to be there, doing nothing but rotting, for 15 years. That’s pretty disheartening and downright scary right? So you sit in prison every day wishing with all your might that you were somewhere else, out of prison, free. And you’re stuck because you’re in prison. The door is locked and you’re not able to leave when you want to. Totally horrible circumstances. 

Now let’s say I come along and hand you a map and say, “If you can follow this map, you can have your freedom.” You jump at the chance. Anything is better than sitting day after day in prison. I warn you that the map is difficult, hard to understand, and definitely won't be easy to follow ... but if you persevere ... and you try hard ... you can use the map to get directly out of prison.

You don’t care how hard it is ... you have a new perspective, a chance now. A way out. And even though you are in prison, you’re happier. Why? Because you’re in transition. You have a plan and a way to change your circumstances ... and you have set it in motion. You're no longer stuck. It won’t be easy, but you don’t care. It’s a chance and you’re going to take it. The power is now back in your hands.

So I am tell you now … you are in one of two places in your life at this very moment. You’re either stuck  - or you’re in transition. If you were a car, you would either be in park, or in gear ... ready for motion. 

If you’re stuck it means you’ve given your power to the prison, or anything else that the prison represents. You are not trying to escape it. You have accepted that you will simply have to serve your time. And you’re more likely to be depressed and dreading every single moment. .

But if you have a plan to change your life, suddenly the prison you’re in doesn’t seem so confining after all? When you’re in transition, it’s actually easier to be happy - with what you used to be - very unhappy about. Because you know it’s temporary. It’s merely a starting point to something better. A point of turning around ... regeneration, renewal, and genesis.

So if you’re sitting in a career that you hate, or a relationship that you’ve outgrown, or a health problem that is breaking you down, be in transition. Don’t be stuck. Be moving towards something better. Have a plan. Set a goal. Every day take one more step closer to your freedom and a life that will make you happy.

Along the way, you can be happy. Happy that you’re moving towards something better. You don’t have to wait until you arrive. Be happy along the way. Enjoy the journey. If life were a destination, we would all be waiting to die. Life is about the journey ... the travels along the way ... not the destination. It's the dash between your two dates that counts. 

Just a thought ... 

~Justin Taylor, ORDM., OCP., DM.

My thanks to Erin Pavlina.